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Jets and Panthers still trying to find their footing

(Picture credit score: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports activities)

It is powerful to pinpoint if the Florida Panthers can return to the shape that took them to the Stanley Cup Last final June, in the end shedding to the Vegas Golden Knights in 5 video games.

Florida will attempt to proceed to recapture a few of that grinding power heading into Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon to tackle the Jets, in each groups’ second recreation of the season.

With one recreation beneath their belt, a 2-0 loss to the host Minnesota Wild on Thursday night time, the early a part of the season appears to be extra about bringing the Panthers — who’ve been hampered by accidents — collectively following a prolonged playoff run.

Eight new skaters made the opening night time roster, whereas high defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour are anticipated to stay out till not less than mid-December, each recovering from offseason shoulder surgical procedure.

These accidents have been a giant motive that veteran blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson was introduced in on a one-year deal as a free agent.

“It isn’t that tough to return in with all these guys,” mentioned Ekman-Larsson on his consolation stage. “They have been so good since Day One, simply attempting to assist me and attempting to get me to really feel part of it. It has been fairly straightforward. Some particulars I nonetheless have to work on, however general I’ve felt fairly good.”

Additionally lacking is ahead Sam Bennett, who is just not on the highway journey.

“He will not be an excessive amount of longer, however he isn’t right here,” mentioned Panthers coach Paul Maurice when requested concerning the standing of Bennett’s lower-body harm.

On the flip aspect, the Jets are looking for an elusive consistency. They began this season with the mission of higher defining themselves as a group that’s powerful to play in opposition to and turns robust protection into offensive alternatives.

Regardless of a season-opening 5-3 loss at Calgary on Wednesday night time, the place the Jets surrendered the game-winning purpose to Elias Lindholm with 1:32 remaining, Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness was joyful together with his membership’s play.

“We actually performed properly sufficient to get not less than some extent out of there,” Bowness mentioned. “It simply did not go our means … however I actually favored the way in which we performed and if we play like that, we’ll win numerous hockey video games.”

The Jets dominated, outshooting Calgary 37-22, however weren’t in a position to beat goalie Jacob Markstrom, regardless of peppering him with a number of high-quality probabilities from immediately within the slot.

“I believed we performed a very strong recreation,” mentioned Jets ahead Mark Scheifele, who scored within the opener. “We received to be constructive right here, it is the primary recreation. Our first recreation with actually our total lineup so … we won’t dwell on the end result an excessive amount of and simply preserve constructing.”

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